English stage, movie and television actor.
Date of Humanities Series Lecture: 9 November, 1959.
A consummate character actor, Alec Guinness’s work on both stage and screen was marked by great versatility and economy of technique. He was the recipient of a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of an English officer in The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957 and an honorary Oscar for career achievement in 1980. Knighted in 1959, Guinness became a Companion of Honor in 1994. He was awarded an honorary D.F.A. by Boston College in 1962.
In his obituary in the New York Times we read:
Possessing a plain-as-porridge but chameleon-like face, Sir Alec was one of those gifted actors who left audiences awed with his seemingly effortless, perfect performances, which he carried off with quiet subtlety and undemonstrative skill.
Guinness’s last book A Positively Final Appearance, written in his mid-80s, offers journal entries -- from the summer of 1996 through 1998 -- filled with off-the-cuff observations and careful reflections. This delightful, humorous journal is a wonderful legacy from a master of the stage and screen.
View a list of movies in the Media Center starring Alec Guiness.
Photo: Alec Guinness with William V.E. Casey, S.J. and Michael Walsh, S.J.